I have already explained in another blog post why captions are important and a must have for facebook videos. You can find that post here. I should also add that this guide is for business pages. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started with this quick how to.
1. First thing’s first, you want to make sure you have a video player installed that can support caption or subtitle files. That’s because we will use this to preview our captions later. I use VLC by VideoLan because it’s free, doesn’t do annoying updates all the time and supports a wide variety of video formats as well as subtitles. You can download VLC here if you like: http://www.videolan.org/index.html
2. The next thing is to create a text document using notepad. Save the file as whatever you like but we will change the file name for uploading to facebook later.
3. The formatting of the text document is very important and must follow this structure but once you get it, it’s really quite simple. Here is a sample:
00:00:1,000 --> 00:00:4,000
Hello internet, this is Ben Frisch
00:00:4,000 --> 00:00:7,000
I launched this video production company
back in November of 2015
- Each new caption block must start with 1, then the next 2, and so on. If you find that a certain line is not showing up in your video, check to make sure all of these numbers are in order and that you don’t have any duplicates. (easy to miss when copying and pasting)
- This part (00:00:1,000 –> 00:00:4,000) refers to the timecode in the video. It is the exact start time (on the left) and end time (on the right) for each block of caption text. It displays hours:minutes:seconds:frames. I typically just stick to the seconds and don’t bother getting to the minute detail of what frame did that line end on.
- Below the timecode is the copy. It will display exactly as it does in your text document with regard to the number of lines and how long each line is. I typically try to keep each line around 40 characters max and don’t do more than 2 lines at a time. 3 lines starts taking up too much screen space and drawing away from the visuals on screen.
- Once you have your script copied into the word document or you’ve transcribed the video and timed out all of the captions, you then want to save the file and load it into your video player to test it. That’s why you want a video player that supports captions/subtitles because it’s easier than testing on your already uploaded Facebook video.
4. Next, to test the file, open your video in VLC and pause it. At the top menu select Subtitle>Add Subtitle File… and load the text document you just created. Now as you playback the video, you should see subtitles on screen. Again, if some are missing, it may be a problem with your formatting. Also note that the appearance (font, color, size, etc.) depends on the player and you don’t have any control over that. So it may look different than what you have seen on Facebook but once you upload it the captions will look the same as all the other videos. As you play the video with the captions on you may notice certain tweaks that need to be made with regard to the timing. As you change the text document, save it and then reload it to see the result.
5. The last thing I would suggest is copying everything into a word processor with spell check. Obviously notepad is lacking in that department so you can never be too careful. Once you’ve tested and spellchecked your file then there is only one last thing to do before uploading the file to Facebook.
6. “.srt” is not a common format so saving from notepad or even word is not an option. Therefore you will need to convert the file online. I use this website https://www.subtitle-converter.com/ but a quick google search for txt to srt file converter will connect you with several options. Basically just upload the text file and then download the converted file.
7. When you save the file from the conversion the name needs to follow a specific format for Facebook to recognize it. Name your file “filename.en_US.srt” (“filename” being whatever you want by the way.)
Now you are all set to upload this file to your video and increase your engagement. Aside from just capturing someone’s attention, however, is that you can include multiple languages that will be recognized automatically by the user settings. So if you want to be inclusive and translate your script into other languages, you have the option to do that.
You can include captions in multiple languages with your video by uploading a SubRip (.srt) file with it. Each SubRip file must be saved using the format: filename.[two-letter language code]_[two-letter country code].srt
And that’s it, I hope this was helpful, and now you have no excuse not to include captions in your Facebook videos anymore.. Leave a comment if you have any difficulty and I’d be happy to help.